I’m Glad I Waited…

GreatFrogsMeritage

The amount of times I had planned to write about my visit to Great Frogs back in January, is almost embarrassing to talk about.

I’ve written about them previously in different settings (you can read about that here) with the hope that one day I would get to visit their winery.    And it finally happened.

Good things come to those who wait, and before I discuss this exquisite visit, here is their FAQ, more about this wonderful winery, visitor information, info on purchasing their wines/shipping info, and where you can find their wines near you.

If you don’t live or aren’t planning to visiting the Annapolis area, your only chance is to have their wines shipped to you.   These wines are on the pricier side, and are outside of my price range.  But every once in a while, I feel it’s right to treat myself.  It’s right to treat yourself, as much as you want, for as much as you want.

It’s my life, it’s your life, and we only get one of those, as who we are in this lifetime.

A few years back when I first about this winery, I had these images of exclusivity, and this place being a secret club that only the highest of society are welcome or dare try to visit.  There’s this thing about assuming that you shouldn’t always do.

However, on a random day I had dropped someone off not realizing their house was literally on the other side of this immaculate looking green and shrubbery, which was Great Frogs.  I was in awe.  I put this place on even more of a pedestal.  Sometimes assuming or presuming adds to the excitement and adds to the mystique.

Needless to say, the winery wasn’t open that day and I thought maybe someday.

After attending wine festivals and having a glass at various restaurants around town, I was enamored.  Maybe it’s an Annapolis thing (my increasing list of my affinity for Annapolis can be found here) but I love their wine and I love everything about this place.

Tastings are by reservation only, and on a limited time frame Fridays and Saturdays only.  At $35 a person that may put some people off.  You can get three bottles in most places for that much.  But this is not that kind of place.  I love this place.

When I drove up, I noticed the amazing vines, the greens, the farmland, and then the barn which hosts the tastings,  I was looking for the adorable pups (Scout & Bruno) who protect the crops and vines from the outside world (wildlife), but not on this day.  That just means I’ll have to be back.  And that’s a given.

GreatFrogsVines

I won’t talk about every wine that was tried.  I don’t want to bore you.  This is not what this blog is about.  It’s about enjoying the wines, enjoying the company your worth, and enjoying your surroundings.

This was well worth the investment.  And in hindsight $35 is not that much for an experience that’s more than just a tasting.  You get 6 wines, you get snacks (which they will replenish for you), and the most incredible ambiance I can ever recall at a winery.  Being away from Downtown Annapolis and being in your own universe a few miles away added another element of wonder and fascination to this visit.  Man I loved all of this.

GreatFrogsTasting

I neglected to mention this tasting also includes a glass of your choice upon completion.  Does it get any better?  This tasting room decor is incredible.   I want to thank Ben who helped with the tasting, and could not have been friendlier.

This is family affair as I also got to meet the owners, Nathathanael & Andrea, who could not have been friendlier.

GreatFrogsMeritage

The wines that stood out to me were the 2015 Estate Meritage, the 2015 Cold Blooded (their newest release at the time), and the Chardonnay.    I went with the former as my glass mainly because the spices, the cedar taste, the berries, and the chocolate made this perfect for the winter time.   Full bodied wines are what’s going to work here, and this worked alright.    This is a $50 bottle, and if you’re feeling ambitious, go for it.   This is a tremendous wine, as most of their wines are.

GreatFrogsColdBlooded

The Cold Blooded is a blend with every grape under the sun, and at $55, this was heavily pushed for a celebration they had the day after Thanksgiving, that was originally to be my first visit.  That didn’t happen for reasons I can’t remember, other than it wasn’t meant to be.

GreatFrogsSign

This visit was meant to be.   This was more than a wine tasting, this was art.  It’s Great Frogs, it’s Annapolis, it’s happiness, this is living.

I can’t wait to do it again.

Thank you so much.

Ideen

 

To Be Continued…

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnay

I wasn’t sure how I was going to write about Old Westminster Winery, so I’m going to shoot from the hip and right from the heart.  I feel like I’ve said this before.  And before that.

But first, here is tasting room info, where you can find their wines, which you can purchase online, their philosophy, and more about this awesome family operation.

OldWestminsterWineryMenu

On a random weekend day some time ago, I felt like doing my own thing.  I had asked a few people if they wanted to take the long (actually short) drive from Baltimore to Westminster, and the interest was little to none.  And like many other things, I was meant to do this on my own.

And for my first visit, I’m glad it was just me…

There’s always that excitement and anticipation of going somewhere new, and taking that unfamiliar drive on a stretch of road that didn’t exist to you moments before.   These things just don’t happen everyday, and I wish they did.

In this world that’s so big, yet to small, the amount of wineries and places in general I haven’t visited, but want to so badly, is going to continuously and instantaneously grow.  But what matters is what I do visit and do experience.

And that’s what I did on this day.

OldWestminsterWinerySign

Upon arrival, and seeing the winery sign, I felt like a kid at his first day of school.  And then I felt like a kid at the first day of school.  See what I’m saying?

Especially going somewhere on your own, can be uneasy for some.  Sometimes I still feel uncomfortable, but more times than not I enjoy my own company.  If you can’t enjoy your own company, how can anyone else be expected to enjoy yours either?   So without thinking I go to restaurants, cinemas, and sometimes travel on my own.   Who knows who or what may be waiting on the other side.

A winery is no different.

OldWestminsterWinery1

How about that scenery?

OldWestminsterWineryTastingRoom

On this particular weekend day, I had a sense the tasting room would be packed.  They’re only open for tastings on Friday through Sunday, and with the aura surrounding the place, I suspected it would be packed to near capacity.  This particular sunny, yet windy afternoon, it was pretty close to full.

OldWestminsterWineryBottles

I had a few minutes wait before I could do a tasting, and there was no rush.  The room itself is immaculate, fantastic, and feels like a place to be.  Maybe even the place to be.  In this Carroll County gem, it’s a place I definitely want to be, and be back at again.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnayTastingRoom2

Before I sound like I’m signing off, I won’t speak of every wine, because I’ll save that for another time.  But I will talk about one.  And it’s the one that stood out to me the most, the 2016 Home Vineyard Chardonnay.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnayTastingRoom

I’ll let the synopsis tell you one story, and I’ll tell you mine.   Wow that sounded way too profound, and that wasn’t the full intent.  However, I do like Chardonnay’s with a little more oak than this, but this one hit a different spot and nerve.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnay

Since there was nowhere to sit inside, I took a seat in the outdoor patio, which wasn’t full set-up for seating.  It was windy, a little chilly, and not conducive to anything I was doing.

But again, like I said, it felt like the first day of school.  It was a bit awkward, out of sorts, and I wasn’t one to fake it till I make it.  Not yet at least.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnay2

But I did take some cool pictures.  The one outside, and one actually from the bathroom.  I may get in trouble for saying that.  But the flowers looked pretty cool.

I did socialize a bit inside, and a crowd at a winery can be much different than one at a standard bar or pub.  We’re all there for the same reasons, and the reasons might be a bit more authentic and genuine versus just going to the same ole’ place.  And there’s always room to change it up and do something real.

This is not how I thought this post would go, but like I said, this is only the beginning.

I’ll be back again.

To be continued…

Ideen

 

 

 

It’s Such A Clear Day…

BlassCabernetSauvignon&Food2

I had something all planned (I don’t like plans, or the word ‘plans’ honestly) all laid out for this week, but something didn’t feel right.   I’m all for keeping it simple and fortunately I have so many wines and stories I can talk about, that I’m going to save some of these other adventures for later in the Spring.

Oh yes Spring is coming!  Hooray!

The pictures here tell of skies that look grey, murky, gloomy, and throw in some other big words that’ll make you and I look good.  But skies and weather like this make for the clearest and brightest pictures.

So this may end up being a two part story, or I may scatter the second post.  I’ll see how I feel.

Being on vacation, yet being close to home, has its privileges.  Actually I’m just grateful to be able to type that last sentence out to you.  And I’m grateful I have dear friends who have trust in me to watch over their house and watch over their pups.  I love dogs in case you haven’t heard me say it before, or noticed.

This means different settings for food and wine pictures, and a different energy then being in my own home, a bar, or a restaurant.  It leads to more strategy or less thinking, a relaxed atmosphere where I can take my time, and all the time to sit and think (or maybe not think so much) and just be one with me, my animal friends, and the universe.

BlassCabernetSauvignon&Food

I treated myself.  I got a simple cheese and meat spread, and some crackers to share with the 2016 (I think, more on that in a second) Blass Reserve Release Cabernet Sauvignon from Wolf Blass Wines.

This is one of the more unique Cabernet Sauvignon’s I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had a lot, but then again I haven’t.

The synopsis on their site is different than what’s on the back of the label shown here (the notes).  And upon further investigating the labels are slightly different.  But I’ll go with what I got and what I can.

BlassCabernetSauvignonGlass

The darker fruits may be there, depending on which wine I actually drank.  But it’s safe to assume that plums and berries are involved.  Smoky cedar or oak? Maybe both.  Maybe nothing at all.  Maybe it’s all a figment of mine and your imagination.

BlassCabernetSauvignon&Food3

What does stand out is the blackcurrant.   If you drink a lot of black tea, then you know that flavor, that aroma, and that undeniable and distinguished taste.

BlassCabernetSauvignonGlass2

Despite all of this, the wine didn’t do it for me.  And with all the appeal of the label, the components of the wine itself, and an aura about it that I may have created in my own mind, it just never got going.

I gave it time to breathe or air out if you will, and nothing.   Like I said, I sat and relaxed for a while.  After taking some pictures, the phone and camera were silenced, and I just decided to be.

BlassCabernetSauvignon&Food4

Usually that means the wine or anything is going to be that much better.  But not everyone is going to be a winner.  Maybe in a different light, I may think differently.  Maybe blackcurrant is an acquired taste that needs time.   And perhaps, this is not the wine for me.

That doesn’t necessarily mean this wine wouldn’t be for you.  And at the price range of $10-$13, it’s not going to hurt you to try.

And this won’t prevent me for giving another of one of their wines, or a wine with this fantastic taste and flavor again.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this day, and sat in a charming backyard with nothing but myself, nature, my animal friends, and all the worries and cares seemed to dissipate instantaneously.   That’s the stuff that makes me feel good and make me happy.

Part two next week.  Maybe…

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

Have A Cigar

CigarWine2

This in connection with a story I wrote about here.

The pizza was great, but for the sake of this post, how was the wine?

My dear friends introduced me to Harvest Thyme of Davidsonville, MD, which is as charming and welcoming a restaurant as I’ve seen.  And I tend to say that a lot.  When you visit a place for the first time, and/or literally go with little to no notice (this kind of goes along the lines of both), it’s one of those natural feelings that can’t always be expressed in words.  It’s expressed in feeling, emotions, and sometimes no words at all.

But what about the wine?  I tend to go on these tangents, and forget about the subject at hand.

CigarWine

The 2015 Cigar Zinfandel was the bottle of choice.  We came for a glass a piece, and since it was the three of us, and happy hour including deals on bottles of wine, this made perfect sense.

At the time, and in hindsight the wine made perfect sense.

We weren’t looking for anything fancy.  We just wanted something that looked good on paper, and spoke to our sensibilities.   Why not have a Cigar?

The name is a draw, but the wine itself is fantastic.  And I don’t drink a lot of Zinfandel wine in general, so whenever I get the opportunity I embrace it.  And I don’t avoid these wines on purpose.  It’s just not a grape I actively seek out.  With this wine, that might need to change.

There’s so much to love and yet there’s so little to decipher.  That makes me happy.

A lot (or maybe just a few) darker fruits and berries is what you will taste, but you also get a peppery or wood type of flavor, which makes it feel like there’s an elements of smoke or perhaps even a cigar in it.   It’s easy to make your mind think that as well, because of the name of the wine.

CigarWine4

But after a few sips and a good conversation, all that analysis doesn’t really matter.  The waiting area had a feeling of a ski lodge, or anywhere cozy that would make you feel safe, secure, and have all the worries and cares in the world disappear, if even for just this short visit.

And a restaurant that’s as inviting as Harvest Thyme, is instantly going to give you that community type of feeling.  Aside from my friend’s who have been there before, I didn’t know a single person, yet felt like I belonged here.  It was a mini vacation, away from home, yet close to home, that everything feels so near and so far away at once.  It just felt good.

CigarWine3

The Cigar Zinfandel is one of those wines that might feel like it would only taste well in this setting.  But there’s a lot of depth, structure, and character to this wine.  It’s what you want in your friends, your relationships, and all the spiritual parts of your life.  So why not have it in your wine, as well?

There’s a darker red color which I take as just sit back and enjoy the view.   There’s a little spice in this as well.  Some of this may all be hogwash, but sometimes a wine that’s easy to figure out are the best ones.  And I’m not sure I’ve figured it all our, nor would I want to.  Not yet at least.

At around $15, this is well worth it.  I would absolutely drink it again.  It seems perfect for a night in by the fire with some tasty treats, or nothing at all.

HarvestThymeSlices

Oh yeah, there’s that pizza… 

For more on Harvest Thyme, here is their food menu, their drink menu, and their story.

And this wine is available at a Total Wine, near you.

Until the next one, peace be with you…

ideen

 

Behold The Rain, Which Descends From…

FederalistWine

The title is the beginning of a famous quote from the great Benjamin Franklin.  The entire quotation can be found here.   But it has to do with wine, and it’s a beautiful thing alright.

It’s one of those lines that makes me feel good about drinking wine, appreciating all the nuances of wine, and simply just being one with vino.

So it brings me such joy to discuss The Federalist wine collection, which I only recently discovered in the last week.

How does this label go unnoticed by me, for so long?  Has it not been not out that long?  Important questions, but what’s important is that I found it now, I got to try it now, and I can tell you with great confidence, that I adore this wine.   This is the 2015 Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon.

FederalistWine2

There’s not much to this wine, yet there’s so much.  You’ve got your usual dark berries, and the description reads a touch of cinnamon spice.   A wine this full of body, structure, and life is perfect for this time of year, the holidays, and any time that feels cold and you want to relax in the luxury of your home or a friends home.  Isn’t it funny that I say the word ‘luxury’ when The Federalist collection prides themselves on being called Luxury Wine.  That’s word association my friends.  They got me!

At around $15-$17, and maybe listed a bit higher in some retailers, it’s worth it’s weight in dare I say, Benjamins.  I did just say that.   No but it’s worth spending more than the usual $10-$15 I prefer to find in my vintages.

And enjoy this at a friends house I did, as we watched something called the Olympics.  Maybe you’ve heard about them.

This post is also a special for the city of Philadelphia.  They’re celebrating something special and this is my tip of the cap and homage to the city of Brotherly Love and a city that is so fun to visit.  In that spiritual essence, for me to grab the Benjamin Franklin label bottle doesn’t seem like a coincidence.

I don’t believe in such things.

But I do believe in this wine and what is represents.  It’s a simple Cabernet Sauvignon, yet those are often the best kinds.  The tannins, the depth, the structure, and the finish that lasts and lasts is what makes this wine truly a winner.   I think enjoying it with good company, watching an event we only see ever so often, makes the wine and experience all that much better.

FederalistWinePizza

Oh yes there was some pizza as well.  For more on this amazing slice, click here!

This wine and experience was worth it.  I always question what takes me so long to discover such charming labels and even more charming wine.  But that’s always the joy of this lifelong journey.  We’re not meant to have every wine, and every mine is not meant to find us.   It’s definitely a great ride when you’re sipping one after the other, at a tasting, or with friends.  But the best bottles are always the ones savored, appreciated, and shared with good company.

That’s what life is all about.  That and a celebration of great events that only come ever-so-often, a celebration of American heroes, and a celebration of ourselves.  We’re pretty awesome too!

I would love to try another Federalist Wine down the line, and I’m confident the experience will be just as breathtaking.   I’m in full Olympics mode so my words may mirror some of the enchanting (there we go..) performances I’ve seen thus far.

For more on The Federalist; here is their wine list (with other magnificent historical figures by the way), their story, where you can find their wines near you, and of course their contact information.

I can’t wait to see where this ongoing wine party takes me next.

Take good care and peace be with you.

Ideen

The Source of All Things…

MasDonisDinner

I’m feeling abundant, and you want to know why?  Because what make me happy, what makes me feel good, and what currently brings me the most joy is the most simplest of things.

Some time ago I’ve come to terms and at peace with many things.  While many things remain unresolved, what I’ve become most comfortable and at peace with are the most simple and peaceful of gatherings.   I still can find enjoyment in big parties with lots of commotion, lots of people, and lots of stimulation.

But a simple meal, a simple glass (or bottle) of vino, and a little conversation, where we can hear one another talk and listen intently, is what I’m all for.  It’s what I yearn for and prefer.  And when not looking for it, the opportunities tend to be presented to me with regularity.

I was grateful to be awarded another opportunity last week with a friend I don’t see enough.  It tends to go that way.  There’s those friends you talk to constantly yet don’t see as much as you would like.  My friend would fit that category.

What also makes me happy is getting together with friends for no reason whatsoever.  You know, someone is always having a birthday, a sports gathering, a milestone in life, and who knows what else.  But sometimes the rest reasons to hang out are no reasons at all.  If you love your friends and family, you never need a specific reason.

Well it helps when my friends have pets.  That’s a bonus.   I could relax with a cat, dog, or other animal friend all day, but I digress once again.

This planned yet impromptu gathering got all that more unpredictable, when my friend, who was all set to good, realized there were enough leftovers to be shared.   The cooking can be left for another day.  I’ve been spoiled and feeling grateful that I have such quality friends who like to cook, and invite their friends over to share in their love of food and wine.  I’m eternally grateful to be surrounded with great people.

MasDonisDinner2

The food was wonderful, and the wine (which I’ll talk about shortly) paired serendipitously with some delicious chicken parmesan and pasta.  Oh my goodness this was great.

MasDonisWine

The wine is the 2015 Mas Donis Old Vines, which is a red blend of Grenache, Merlot, and Syrah.  And with such a medium to full bodied wine to go with such a hearty and hefty meal, it’s a match that was meant to be and the universe came together on this night to make all the elements of food, wine, and simplicity work out magically.   That makes me feel good.

MasDonisLabel

I’ll freely admit that the label had much to do with the purchase. But something about this wine grabbed me.  At one of my local wine shoppes I was drawn to it immediately.  I grabbed it, held onto it, and with no resistance whatsoever, I knew this was the wine I was meant to buy, and share with you my thoughts today.  It was the first and only bottle I saw. Sounds about right.

MasDonisWine2

There’s so much to this wine. It’s got your standard berries and cherries.  But what might taste earthy to you at me, might be herbs and spices to someone else.  What stands out is how this wine ends.  You may have heard the term lingering finish before.  This wine epitomizes that.  What lingers is the flavors and the tannins after each sip.   Yet there’s so much structure and life to this wine, that you don’t need to put into words.  A little oak always helps too, but I think you know what I’m saying.  This is a wine that warms my heart, and may do the same for you.

And at a price tag of $10-$15, it’ll warm your pocketbook too.   Do people still have pocketbooks?  For more on this wine, and the distributor click here.

I think the elements of the the evening also made this wine that much better.  I think my friend enjoyed it a little more than me.  I think I had a glass and a half at most, which is fine by me.  That means more to share with good people.

I’ll also add that not every conversation is meant to be deep and meaningful.  It might drive you crazy.  It gets me cuckoo at times.

A good friendship also means a little surface level, a little nothing, and sometimes a little silence goes a long way.

Let’s do this again sometime.

Peace be with you.

Ideen

 

 

Take A Number

CanyonRoadPinotNoirWithFood

In the world we live in, or at least in a world you or I might live in, there’s never a lack of events to look forward to.  Some we’d be billing to bypass because they’ve ran their course, or we grow up.

Sometimes none of that matters.  We still grow up but we still enjoy our friends, good food, and a little vino never hurt anybody.

The event I’m referring to is a gathering of friends to watch a major professional wrestling event that took place this past Sunday night.  The specifics aren’t necessary, other than it was a good group of individuals, and I was honored to be invited and included.

Now I had no intention or idea that a story would come out of this. We’re at as simple as a bar as you’re going to find.   The food is bar food, the drinks are your cold beers, well drinks (I’m not even sure what that is but ‘well drinks’ just popped up in my head), and for the contrarians like me, they do have a couple of bottles of wine.

With the latter part of what I said coming to fruition, I did buy a bottle.  In hindsight I have no idea why I did.  But for a short and long-term investment it was worth it, so I didn’t have to get up to keep ordering a drink.   But in the long run, none of this really matters.  More on that in a little while.

CanyonRoadPinotNoir

The wine was the 2014 Canyon Road Pinot Noir from you guessed it, Canyon Road.  And there isn’t much to it. That sounds dismissive and I don’t meant it to be, but this is about as basic as a wine as you’re going to find.  And I’ve seen it listed from $7-$10 in most places.  The cheaper you can find it, the more it’s actually worth that price.  I know that makes sense.

CanyonRoadPinotNoirWithFood3

The wine has little, if any, structure.  And you don’t need to be an expert to know, you want a a wine to bring something to the table.  You might taste some cherry, get a little tannin, and a get a little soul.   But all things considered, this wine will satisfy many.  And when pickings are slim, there’s little room for complaining.    I even waited a good 15-20 minutes for this wine to breathe, and not much changed.   That’s when you know this as standard label and mass produced as a wine as there’s going to be.

CanyonRoadPinotNoirWithFood2

The salad was as good as it’s going to be.  I honestly don’t know what that means, as I think about it. Haha.

For a  post I made on another one of their wines, nearly two years ago, click here.

For more on Canyon Road click here,  here is where you can find their wines near you, their wine list, and finally their contact information.

But going back to numbers,  I want to focus on something else.  The event we watched was all about numbers.  We picked a number to match an entrant in said event, but also a number hoping we might win some money.  That’s always fun.  Not too much was committed, so the risk vs. reward was’t too serious.  Well the reward always feels good if you win it.

Where I’m going with this, is recently I’ve had conversations with people (and myself) about how more and more they feel like just a number, like a spoke on the wheel, and an afterthought at times.  The title of this post may evoke feelings of waiting in a deli line to pick up whatever, and that might feel pedestrian and robotic as anything. While in some universes that might be valid, it’s actually the furthest thing from the truth.

We’re all brought here to add value, we all come from the same source, and are all connected.  And none of that says we’re just a number.  We’re all spiritual beings that have arrived here to do some awesome things, enjoy the finer things in life (like good wine), but also to feel good as much as possible.  Again, nothing about that entails that you and I are just a number.

Well might be a number.  That number is 1.  Because we’re capable of being the best to ourselves, to each other, and all the good energy that’s here on this planet Earth.

Sunday night I felt something and I can’t explain it, nor do I need to right away.  Something felt uneasy but then it felt right.  I hung with good friends but I also hung out with people I rarely see, or just met for the first time.  We were all there for the same reason, and one of those was just to feel good.

And you can’t put any price tag or number, on feeling good.

I feel good right now, and I wish the same for you.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen